Shravanabelagola and Chennakesava

A day-trip to visit two historic temples.

We joined a group from IISc on a day-long chartered bus journey out of Bangalore, to visit Shravanabelagola and Chennakesava.  This marathon day began at 6:30am and lasted until 11:30pm, but it was worth it!  Shravanabelagola is a Jain temple, over 1,000 years old and hosting the world’s tallest monolithic stone statue.  Chennakesava is over 900 years old and is a Hindu temple with incredibly ornate stone carvings.  Both are practicing temples, with hundreds of devotees visiting daily. Read on!

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Ellora and Ajanta

Incredible hillsides carved from bedrock, two thousand years ago.

Step back two thousand years, and find yourself a mountainside of solid volcanic rock: black basalt, solidified lava.  Working top down and outside in, carve yourself a freestanding three-story temple using only hand tools.  As you go, include exquisite carvings, rooms, pillars, and life-size elephants. Coat the sculpture with plaster and paint detailed scenes from Buddhist, Hindu, or Jain mythology.  Really?  Read on.

Ellora: WOW! an entire Hindu temple carved out of the mountainside, top down and outside in.
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Eight hours to cross Maharashtra.

We spent Republic Day weekend touring from Mumbai to Aurangabad, Ellora, and Ajanta.  On Friday I met Pam and the kids at the Mumbai airport– I had spent Thursday visiting IIT Bombay– and then we drove about 8 hours east up through the Western Ghats and across the high plains of Maharashtra to Aurangabad [location].  We stayed there three nights.  [The kids were happy because the “Lemon Tree” hotel had both a swimming pool and a pool table. And a big buffet.]  Anyway, on Saturday we drove to Ellora Caves, and on Sunday we drove to Ajanta Caves; more on those amazing sites later.  On Monday, Republic Day, we drove again 8 hours across Maharashtra back to the Mumbai airport and thence home.

Ancient Daulatabad, main fortress at top.

It was a lot of driving, but I love to pass the time by taking photos of people and places as they go by.  This is the dry season, with the monsoons not expected to come again until June… the plains seemed like a desert, with scrubby brush and grasses dominating the landscape.  It was agricultural and rural, with few dwellings and scattered villages. I saw many places where people lived in huts or even teepees made of sticks, or of mud, or scraps of corrugated metal.  It is clearly a tough place to make a living.

See the photos.  Watch for the cow that makes sugar-cane juice!

This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

IIT Bombay

The IIT Bombay campus is beautiful, on the shores of Lake Powai and bordered by a national park.

I spent a day at IIT Bombay, one of the five classic IIT campuses. My host was an old friend, Varsha Apte; she and I were both students in Computer Science at Duke University in the late 1980s.  She is now a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department at IITB, and I was visiting to give a lecture and meet some of the other faculty and their students.  

The CSE building has a large atrium in the center.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and was intrigued by the many interesting research projects.  There is a lot going on there, at least in the area of wireless networking.

Gyanam Paramam Dhyeyam (Knowledge is the Ultimate Goal).

Varsha was kind enough to show me around campus.  You can see some of my photos, and the location of IITB.

IIT Bombay: an on-campus Hindu temple.

This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2020, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

New Year’s day

Hiking to Triund pass above Dharamsala.

Following our 25-year tradition, I spent New Year’s day hiking with my Dartmouth friends David and Kathy. This year, we have our families along, including Benjamin (age 4).   Read on and check out the photo gallery.

Chubbers in the Himalaya! David with Kathy and David in the Triund pass above Dharamsala, India, on New Year’s day.
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